Human Rights and Asian American Literary Studies (American Literature Association)

full name / name of organization: 
Circle for Asian American Literary Studies
contact email: 

Human Rights and Asian American Literary Studies
Chair: Lynn Itagaki, The Ohio State University
Due Date: January 15, 2014
25th Annual ALA Conference
May 22 – 25, 2014
Hyatt Regency Washington
on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue NW
Washington D.C., 20001

Historically, Asian immigrants came to the United States seeking economic opportunity, political security, as well as social stability, whether they were seafarers, California gold rush miners, paper sons, picture brides, post-1965 migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, or even transnational elites. This panel solicits paper proposals to broadly consider the following questions: How does a human rights framework produce new interpretations of Asian American literature? How does the consideration of Asian Americans and Asian diasporic communities broaden concepts of global human rights?
Alongside the theoretical interests in biopolitics, precarity and vulnerability, the question of human rights has developed into an increasingly popular framework through which to analyze injustice and inequality. As the forces of global capitalism and neoliberalism have increasingly eroded the rights and protections accorded to individuals by nation-states, human rights have become more anxiously promoted to protect populations within and across international borders. Asian diasporic histories are intertwined with human suffering and crimes against humanity caused by the forced migration and displacement of peoples, Cold War imperialism, genocide, totalitarian regimes and civil wars. This panel invites considerations of a wide range of Asian American texts such as fiction, poetry, film, journalism, memoir, or activist writing, and encourages intersections with critical ethnic studies, feminist studies, queer studies, disability studies, and environmental studies.

Please consult the ALA conference website ( for more information on the conference fees, site, and other logistics. Also, note that the required CAALS membership for participation in CAALS panels is separate from the ALA conference fee.

Please email a 350-500 word abstract of your paper to Lynn Itagaki at by January 15, 2014. Be sure to mention any technological needs for your presentation on your abstract.